Tuesday, October 02, 2007

20Somthings Care Less About Music Style

This is a pretty interesting post claiming that 20somthings are not as concerned about music styles as previous generations. Trevin Wax's thoughts don't really surprise me, but I do think they are interesting. My take-away is that we still need to uphold the values of cultural relevance, excellence, and artistic diversity, but that we also need to quit expecting music to be the magic bullet for reaching this new generation. It seems community and teaching may be their primary point of engagement. Of course, this is just one man's opinion, but I do think his view holds at least some nugget of truth. Here's a clip from Trevin's post...

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Music does not bring people to church. People bring people to church. At this year’s Southern Baptist Convention, I was distressed at how many times I heard pastors mention “updating our music” as a way to reach my hard-to-reach generation.

Sorry to burst the bubble. But changing the music is completely irrelevant.

I talked to a handful of 20somethings who dropped out of church for a few years and are now back and engaged. When I asked them about the worship style of our church (we’re a mix between blended and traditional), the answers were all different. Most of them indicated that they would rather we sing less and get to the preaching quicker. “That’s what we’re there for,” said one. Others mentioned how much they loved the organ. A couple mentioned that the “hymns” could be hard sometimes, but that they wanted to learn them anyway, as they felt they were important.

My generation is musically fragmented. Some of my classmembers like Country music. Others like P.O.D. and Disciple. Some are into soft rock. One loves anything Classical. The majority like folksy rock, but there’s no consensus. The Iraq war veteran in our class (tattooed and tough) has a soft spot for the Carpenters, Celtic chants, and the crooners of the 40’s and 50’s. iTunes and iPods. We are a generation of many styles.

The idea that a “contemporary” music service is going to reach my generation just makes me laugh. No one in my class is there for the music. They are all there for the relationships and the Bible teaching. Not that the music is unimportant… it’s just not central.

(HT: Vitamin Z)


Anonymous said...

I agree with the post on that one. I think a lot of it also has to do with authenticity and being real also, all across the board.

I wonder what kind of answers we'd get if Parkview seriously asked (surveyed) our 20 year olds?

Scott Sterner said...

That's a pretty interesting idea John. I would be very curious to hear what that generation at Parkview would have to say.

julieH said...

My response is over on my blog. :-)

Jim Coates said...

I think I'd have to side a little more with JulieH... I think music (or art forms in general) are an important part of presenting Christ's message in a vernacular that modern society can comprehend. Its also acknowledging the CONTINUAL beauty in His creation... pretty songs and meaningful songs weren't only written during one time in history.

All that being said, of course music/drama/video/whatever isn't the only important thing, nor is it the single key to attracting a group of people, but it is indeed a factor.

I'd have to disagree with the original article that sort of callously states that its "ok if the people who want to be entertained leave, because we need their seat". If they are there because they are entertained and we FAIL to capture them with how we teach and how we act as a church... well then we have bigger issues than just musical style. To think otherwise might be tending to the 99 over the 1.

John nailed it on the head with adding that regardless of all of this, authenticity is another huge key.

James said...

Did this guy survey his class, by chance?

What needs to be separated, first off, is evangelistic tools and edification tools, namely, what brings people vs. what keeps people in church.

The Western world may have its diverse tastes in art, but missiological studies have shown exponential success in ministry when corporate worship is done in a culture's native musical style. How are we to interpret that?

This man has some interesting points, but I wonder if he dangerously belittles the importance of corporate worship, which doesn't happen as much in a sermon.

More later, perhaps.